Dr Lennard YW Lee DPhil (Oxon), MA (Cantab), MRCP (UK), BMBCh

Dr Lennard YW Lee

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
Honorary Research Fellow

Contact details

Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Lennard Lee is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences.

His research interests are those of the interaction of COVID-19 infection and cancer patients. He has set up the UK Coronavirus Cancer monitoring project  which is a national project that pioneers the use of a clinician-led reporting project to enable tracking of cancer patients who have tested positive for COVID-19 across the United Kingdom. This project has enabled direct real-time daily updates back to individual Cancer Centres and will address many unknowns including disease-specific mortality, age-specific cancer mortality, interaction with cancer treatments, impact of public health interventions and potential impact on patients. He was also the academic lead of the UK Birmingham Chemotherapy Cancer COVID-19 project, which has investigated the prevalence of COVID-19 in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

He is also the Project Delivery Lead for the Falcon-MoonShot research program. This study is analysing the utility of lateral flow viral antigen detection devices for COVID-19. He has set up 14 new research sites around the country. This was the first time that these tests had been successfully integrated into the existing national COVID-19 testing programs anywhere in the world. He is also working on the practicalities implementation of mass screening for COVID-19 in other settings, such as schools, care homes and Universities.

Lennard has successfully received funding from the Medical Research Council, Biomedical Research Council (Oxford), Cancer Research UK (Oxford), ECMC (Birmingham) and Guts UK charity.

His other research programs include developing a greater understanding of the molecular determinants of metastatic (or stage IV) cancer, dissecting the importance of the human immune repertoire in cancer progression. His research group is using the latest molecular techniques and models to gain an exquisite insight into cancer and disease but also the latest big data population clinical informatics techniques.


  • Doctor of Philosophy (Oxford University) 2017
  • Member of Royal College of Physicians 2011
  • BMBCh (Oxford University) 2008
  • MA (Cambridge University) 2008
  • BA (Cambridge University) 2005


Lennard graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2005 (Natural Science Tripos (II) - Neuroscience). As part of this degree, he worked on the development of viral vectors for transgene deliver. Whilst at Cambridge he was awarded the Sun Hung Kai-Kwok Foundation Scholarship and Larmor Prize for “intellectual qualifications, moral conduct and practical activities”.

He then studied clinical medicine at the University of Oxford and graduated in 2008. On graduation and working as a clinician, he worked in the South West Thames Institute of Renal research researching the process of Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition (2011).  

Lennard was then successful in his application to the Medical Research Council (UK) for a national Clinical Training Research Fellowship in 2013. He performed his DPhil with Professor Ian Tomlinson at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics, University of Oxford. He researched “Gene Drivers of Metastasis in Colorectal cancer” and lead to a Core Trainee Research Award (2016) and a section prize at the BSG (2017).

He then applied for a BRC Clinical Research Training Fellowship to work as a postdoc to enable him to develop his skills in bioinformatics, next generation sequencing and the creation of highly phenotyped Clinical Cohorts. This was performed at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Professor Ian Tomlinson and Professor David and Rachel Kerr. 

Lennard was then recruited in 2018 to the University of Birmingham to work at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences and develop his research group as a Senior Clinical Training Research Fellow and then as an Honorary Research Fellow. 

Postgraduate supervision

Lennard was then recruited in 2018 to the University of Birmingham to work at the Institute of Cancer and Genomic Sciences and develop his research group as a Senior Clinical Training Research Fellow.

Postgraduate supervisor is available to ambitious, hard-working individuals keen to pursue novel scientific pursuits. 


Lennard’s group has research interests in a large area of academic research. These areas characterise the spirit of the lab, namely research that is cutting-edge and ambitious:

  •  Development of cutting edge animal models 
  • Genetic screens
  • Pioneering new molecular techniques- 3’ RNA
  • Single cell sequencing
  • Genome Engineering & New therapeutics (biological bots)
  • Improvement of realistic in vitro models- 3d
  • Developmental transcription factors and cancer
  • Deep learning algorithms

One major research program is our pursuit to gain a far greater molecular understanding of stage IV or metastatic cancer. This is particularly of importance as this is the principal cause of death of patients with cancer and an area for which there has been relatively limited translational research. The aims of this program are to understand:

  • Germ line predisposition to metastasis
  • Shared pan cancer-drivers of metastasis
  • Site specific metastasis drivers
  • Selection pressures of the metastatic niche
  • Immunogenic selection and metastasis.
  • Metastatic niche directed therapeutics

See the website of the research group for further details. 


Lennard YW Lee, Connor E Woolley, Thomas Starkey, Sujata Biswas, Tia S Mirshahi, Chiara Bardella, Stefania Segditsas, Shazia Irshad and Ian Tomlinson. Serum- and glucocorticoid-induced kinase SGK1 directly promotes the differentiation of colorectal cancer cells and restrains metastasis. Clinical Cancer Research DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-18-1033

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